Wednesday, May 26, 2010

USA World Cup Roster

I freely admit I am a soccer fanatic. Just ask my wife. I mean the reason I'm on crutches and in a knee brace right now is because I was playing the game and injured myself. So today was an exciting one for me.

The USA released the names of the 23 men who will compete in the World Cup in South Africa starting June 11th. There were a couple of surprises of who's on and who's off. The roster is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton, England), Tim Howard (Everton, England).
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes, France), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover, Germany), Jay DeMerit (Watford, England), Clarence Goodson (IK Start, Norway), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan, Italy), Jonathan Spector (West Ham, England).
Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany), Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus, Denmark), Stuart Holden (Bolton, England), Jose Torres (Pachuca, Mexico).
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Hull, England), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles), Robbie Findley (Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Puebla, Mexico).

Left off the list were Chad Marshall, Heath Pearce, Alejandro Bedoya, Sacha Kljestan, Robbie Rogers, Brian Ching and Eddie Johnson.

The surprises for me were that Sacha Kljestan and Eddie Johnson not making the team. It just goes to show that there are options for the US in soccer now and that you have to EARN your spot on the team.

That said, I'm excited to see this team play. They have a warm-up match against Turkey in a few days. It would be good to see the starting line-up that Bob Bradley intends to send against England in this match. I would like to see how they play as a unit and how Bradley will use his substitutions. For my part I think the following will be the starting line-up against England June 12th:

Keeper: Tim Howard

Defenders: Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Spector, and Clarence Goodson

Midfielders: Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark and Clint Dempsey. (Stuart Holden if five are played)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore and Edson Buddle (Buddle on the bench if five midfielders are played)

This is the line-up I think we will see against Turkey and in the first game against England.

In order for the US to do well in the World Cup the following players have to step up for the US to do well:

  • Oguchi Onyewu - He can anchor the defense and calm the nerves, if he doesn't the US will be sloppy and the goals will pour in
  • Jozy Altidore - He has to use his strength on the ball and either put it in the back of the net himself or lay it off effectively so Buddle or Donovan can
  • Ricardo Clark - He has to keep the defensive midfield steady and find Donovan in order for Donovan to shine
  • Clint Dempsey - We need to have the Dempsey who plays without fear and can be a force from the midfield
The match against Turkey will tell us something of how this team will play. Of course how they react on the Big Stage against a team the likes of England will be big as well. If they play timid they will get destroyed in the tournament. If they play confident then they should make the knock out stage easily.

I put their chances at 50/50 to make the quarter finals (winning their knock out game). If they win their group the chances go up to 60/40. Needless to say I'm stoked and can't wait for the games to begin.

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